There are many things that can potentially cause hot air balloon accidents. Among the most common are such issues as running into power wires or having an unusually hard landing. Sometimes weather, such as lightning, is the cause of hot air balloon accidents, and errors made by the pilot, helpers, or passengers can cause issues as well. Fires, problems with ground handling, and mechanical problems can also cause these types of accidents.
A hot air balloon accident can occur because of things that are encountered while the balloon is flying. For example, accidents can occur when a hot air balloon gets tangled with or runs into a power line. Others may result from impacting other aircraft or stationary structures. Sometimes weather is at fault in accidents involving this type of aircraft as well. For example, a balloon or its passengers could be struck by lightning or blown into another structure by an extremely strong wind.
Sometimes, accidents occur because of human error. For example, an individual who is helping with the launch of a craft could get dragged into the air after becoming tangled up in the balloon's rope and eventually fall to the ground. A pilot's error also could cause the accident if he flies into the wrong airspace; chooses to fly under the wrong conditions; or makes mistakes with landing, launching, or navigating the aircraft. Sometimes accidents such as flying into power lines and making overly hard landings are caused by the human error of the pilot, but this is not always the case. There are also times at which these types of accidents are beyond the pilot's control.
Besides the errors human beings make in the actual flying of the crafts and issues caused by weather, fires, ground handling, and mechanics also contribute to hot air balloon accidents. Some accidents are caused by explosions or the spread of fire on board the aircraft while others are the result of improper handling and maintenance of the balloon while it is on the ground. Accidents may also occur because of defects in the aircraft itself.
It is important to note that some hot air balloon accidents are referred to as "incidents" instead of "accidents." Some organizations, for example, may call accidents "incidents" if no one is injured or any injuries sustained are only minor in severity. The word "accident" is, in some cases, reserved for when severe injuries occur or for when a hot air balloon suffers serious damage or is destroyed.